If we were to use one word to describe what we’ve heard so far from The Chemical Brothers’ new album Born in the Echoes, the best choice would probably be “exciting”. It’s been five years since their last studio album, and to hear that their new material is still as good as ever is a serious relief. Between the classic house sound of Sometimes I Feel So Deserted, the electronic hip-hop combination of Go and even now with their latest single Under Neon Lights, they’re once again reminding us that they’re among the best of the best at what they do.
Under Neon Lights is another song with a solid house beat, similar to Sometimes I Feel So Deserted but with a lot more going on in the instrumental. It features quirky higher pitched melodies, a beat buzzing with numerous melodies and sound effects and buzzing bass synths all through different parts of the song. It has a more frantic energy than either of the previous singles, and changes itself up consistently with the various elements mentioned above.
The connecting factor for the song is the guest vocalist St. Vincent, otherwise known as Annie Clark, who sings in a slow and dramatic tone that’s at odds with the instrumental, yet adds to the mystery and quirk of the song in the best way possible. It’s the strangest of the songs from Born in the Echoes so far, and on paper Clark sounds like an odd choice for a Chemical Brothers collaboration. However, the elements all work together perfectly, and it feels like something that suits everyone that’s involved with the song; a real achievement, considering the differences in their music.
The Chemical Brothers aren’t making major changes to their formula with Under Neon Lights, but it’s unique enough to really have its own identity; the decision to feature Clark on the track was definitely a smart one. It only adds to the already diverse sound of Born in the Echoes, while also showing that they can make diverse songs without completely changing the style of their music. There’s an ever-growing list of amazing songs from The Chemical Brothers in 2015, and one can only hope that it ends with an equally brilliant album.